Tipping off a few hours before the Super Bowl, the Miami Heat might have been thinking about New England's Aaron Hernandez rather than their opposing starting center Aaron Gray on Sunday afternoon.
The Heat managed and overcame a sluggish defensive first half to beat the visiting Toronto Raptors 95-89. LeBron James led the game with both 30 points and 9 rebounds. Dwyane Wade continued his aggressive scoring with 25 points on only 14 shot attempts.
Despite their season long offensive struggles, the Raptors refused to play extinct, with DeMar DeRozan (25) and Linas Kleiza (17) combining for 42 points.
After a first half in which both teams shot over 45% from the field, the Heat upped their defensive prowess to limit the Raptors to 14 points in the 3rd period. During that stretch, Mario Chalmers added a couple of decisive three point shots and finished the game with 11 points.
Chris Bosh failed to find a rhythm against his old team, continually losing the ball deep in the post and ending the game 3 for 13 shooting; he finished with only 12 points. That's the second game in a row that Bosh has failed to assert himself in the game against an opponent with marginal front-court play.
Impressed By: Dwyane Wade. Another efficient scoring night for Dwyane (8 for 14). He built upon last game's success in the post and continued to demand the ball deep in the paint where he was very effective. Dwyane's FG% this season is at a career low, but if he keeps this scoring tear up it should be back up in no time.
Depressed By: The Heat Bench. With Bosh having an off day, it was particularly important for the key reserves to pick up the slack. Nonetheless, Mike Miller finished 1-5 (3 points) and Shane Battier 0-4 (0 points). The Heat's bench was outscored 31-15.
Next up for the Heat: The Miami Heat will take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, February 7th at the American Airlines Arena.